By Omar Rodriguez
After an already dim preseason, the Lakers were hit hard in the first game of the season.
Julius Randle, the No. 7 overall pick of the 2014 NBA draft is out for the rest of the season after breaking his leg in the fourth quarter of the game.
The Lakers, as of now, are still winless at 0-5. This is the worst start of the season since they were in Minneapolis in the late ’50s.
The only shining star so far has been the return of the “Black Mamba.” Kobe Bryant is averaging 27 points a game this season and is leading all scorers for the Lakers this season.
Los Angeles for the most part stays in the game against their opponent. Towards the end of the game is when the opposite team begins to distance itself.
Yet, the Lakers continue to move on. In his first season as Lakers head coach, Byron Scott remains positive about his team.
The Lakers are not expected to go far this season and were ranked as one of the worst teams at the start of the 2014 season. Kobe Bryant was ranked the 40th best player in the NBA, which is the lowest ranking of his NBA career.
Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer are the most notable new faces. Boozer is averaging 10 points with only 5.6 rebounds per game. His production was never in question and he will begin to improve as the season goes adjusting to a new offense.
The thing that really needs work is his defensive skills down in the paint. Coach Scott is expecting more from Boozer on offense but especially his defense.
Ed Davis, who is behind Boozer in the starting lineup, has been outperforming the veteran who is entering his 12th season in the league. Yet Scott still has faith in Boozer, so he will remain in the starting lineup until further notice.
Jeremy Lin is also in the starting lineup for the Purple and Gold, replacing the injured and aged Steve Nash. Nash is out for the remainder in the season after re-injuring his back carrying groceries.
So that means that Lin will definitely have his minutes for the Lakers, but his performance and defensive prowess are still in question.
He is averaging right around 11 points, which is one point more then his career average. Lin is also averaging five assists per game, which is on par with his career.
He is still trying to learn the Lakers’ offense and work out his kinks with his teammates, but Lin is still projected to be a solid player in both scoring and minutes behind Bryant.
Defense is still the most important thing that the Lakers will have to work on as the season progresses.
The points will be there for the Lakers as its new stars, rookies and bench come together to make the team a contender in the tough Western Conference.
The Lakers are not expected to go far this season, according to the media, but it’s up to Los Angeles to write its own story this season.
Still, the odds are against them.
They lose their promising rookie, and they still have not won a game this season with their atrocious defense. The Lakers should take these things in stride and prevail.
Kobe Bryant, who is right back in the swing of things after only playing 10 games last season, is the leader of this team.
He is known for motivating or upsetting his fellow teammates and expecting them to perform to the Laker standard. He knows what he wants and what to expect from his team.
If the Lakers are able to improve their defense and get their offense up to speed, they should be near the top half of the Western Conference come May.
With teams like the defending champion San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Los Angeles Clippers in the mix, it will not be an easy task.
With all that in mind, the Lakers are facing an uphill battle, but it’s something that the organization, the players, and their new coach Byron Scott are ready to face.